Behind the scenes, of course, those who have “access” to federal and state “decision makers” are busy jockeying for position. They want scientific views which they favor to hold sway in the EIS/EIR being prepared to “inform” a decision on whether the Klamath Dam and Water Deals are in “the public interest” and will restore salmon runs. The Public Draft EIS/EIR is scheduled for release in September.
The EIS/EIR is intended to inform a decision by the Secretary of Interior on the fate of both the Klamath Dam Deal (the KBRA) and the Klamath Water Deal (or KBRA) . KlamBlog is taking the opportunity presented by the lull to reflect on the war of words being waged in the region’s opinion pages concerning these Deals. Depending on who you choose to believe, the Deals are either the best thing to come along since penicillin or a threat to local “custom and culture” which will flood riverfront property and destroy the local economy. All sides claim their science is “good” and the other guy’s science is hogwash. This post is an opportunity to learn who is writing the commentaries and the claims they are making.
But first a word about our decision to label these commentaries and opinions “propaganda”: The word “propaganda” is popularly taken to mean deliberate falsification in order to influence public opinion. The dictionary definition , however, recognizes that propagandists may use either facts or falsehoods - or a combination of both - as suites their purpose. Even when no falsehoods are stated, most propaganda presents facts selectively. This is sometimes referred to as “lying by omission”. What distinguishes propaganda from other communication is intent - propagandists seek to influence those receiving the information to act or believe a certain way.
Immediately below is a list of those who have published recent Klamath commentaries or editorials. Their commentaries/editorials follow in that order.
John Spencer is a retired lawman and an avid fisherman. For many years John lived on the Shasta River where he angled for Steelhead and worried over poor water quality and low flows. He now lives in Anderson, California and writes a fishing column for the Redding Record Searchlight.
Mark Baird is a Scott River Valley hobby rancher and a leader of the Siskiyou County Tea Party. He recently purchased a radio station in Yreka.
Craig Tucker runs the Karuk Tribe’s Klamath River Campaign. Tucker previously worked for Friends of the River and Green Corp.
Ani Kame'enui is Washington, D.C., legislative coordinator for Oregon Wild. Alexandra Borack is conservation advocate for Friends of the River.
Dean Brockbank is vice president and general counsel for PacifiCorp Energy – owner of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project. PacifiCorp is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Investment Company.
John Menke is a retired range professor who with his wife owns and operates a ranch in the Scott River Valley. The Menkes have adopted the practice of running their irrigation ditches full year around even though their irrigation rights are limited to only a portion of the year.
Patrick Higgins is a Northcoast fisheries biologist who has been working on Klamath science and restoration since 1986. These days he represents the Resighini Rancheria on Klamath River issues.
While it probably does not qualify as “propaganda” we should mention a scholarly article published recently in the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. Dewatering Trust Responsibilities: The New Klamath River Hydroelectric and Restoration Agreements is by Thomas Schlosser – an attorney who represents the Hoopa Tribe. "The article argues that the agreements prioritize the water rights of non-Indian irrigation districts and utility customers over first-in-time Indian water and fishing rights.”
KlamBlog wants to know your opinion on the veracity of these individuals and the worth of their opinions. Read the seven commentaries-editorials reprinted below and then leave a comment.
Please remember to be honest and respectful.
John Spencer: Dams on Klamath may be removed to aid salmon
Saturday, May 14, 2011
On a small back page news clipping I read "PUC endorses removal of dams." On May 5, the California Public Utilities Commission endorsed removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to help salmon.
During the meeting in San Francisco, the commission granted Portland-based dam owner PacifiCorp a 2 percent rate increase for its 45,000 customers in California to help pay for removing the dams. There was no indication when the company would proceed in the actual demolition of the dams or which one would go first.
To better understand the issue of removing the dams, I researched some of the history about the Klamath water and power projects on the river. Unlike the Trinity River sub-basin, the Klamath River does not suffer from the effects of major river diversion projects exporting water out of the basin.
The water-impounding dams in the Klamath were first built in the 1850s for supplying water to mining and farming operations. Around 1926 a Copco (California-Oregon Power Co.) dam was constructed. Anglers and biologists were not happy with the operations of the dam as no minimum flows were required of the operator.
The U.S. Bureau of Fisheries recommended in 1935 that an equalizing dam be constructed below the Copco power plant to regulate the releases to a steady flow. In 1945, the state Legislature finally requested the Public Utilities Commission to study the effects of the artificial fluctuation and recommended a solution. The 1947 report recommended that a regulating dam below Copco #2 be installed and operated by the company.
After plenty of haggling and ratification of the Klamath River Basin Compact by Oregon and California, Congress in 1957 approved the building of Iron Gate Dam. In 1958 Big Bend Dam (now John C. Boyle) and power plant were approved to be built upstream in Oregon.
Historically, the Klamath River was once the third most productive salmon river system in the United States, after the Columbia and the Sacramento rivers. Eutrophic conditions and raised water temperatures induced by the construction of the dams created worsening conditions for migrating salmon. The upper basin water, along with the almost-total diversion of the Trinity River, as well as irrigation projects on the Shasta and Scott River tributaries, have all lowered the total river flow supporting salmon.
In 2005, PacifiCorp applied to the federal government to relicense its four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath for up to 50 years. Fishermen and environmentalists opposed the relicensing, arguing that they should be removed to reopen the upper Klamath to salmon. On Feb. 18, 2009, an agreement was signed after two years of closed-door negotiations. This resulted in an unprecedented and conditional agreement to work toward a comprehensive settlement of the Klamath water usage.
The proposal calls for the removal of four hydroelectric dams now operating along 300 miles of the Klamath River in southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as restoration projects.
A nonbinding agreement in principle involving PacifiCorp, the federal government, California and Oregon was announced on Nov. 13, 2008. This was apparently the initial phase of a process, which could see the removal of Iron Gate Dam, Copco Dams Nos. 1 and 2, and John C. Boyle Dam, beginning by 2020.
PacifiCorp ratepayers would fund part of the plan and the state of California would fund much of the remaining projected cost.
The agreement requires the federal government to scientifically assess the costs and benefits of the dam removals, and to make final determination by March 31, 2012, as to whether the benefits of the project will justify the costs. Then, federal congressional and California electorate approval will be required.
The impacts of removal of the dams will be reported at a later time.
© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
What a crock!
Don’t give in
By Mark Baird
Siskiyou Daily News
Posted Jun 08, 2011 @ 11:50 AM
John Spencer writes in the Redding Searchlight that the dams must come out to save the fish and to save water quality in the Klamath River. What a crock! John quotes some history about dam construction and leaves the most valuable information out.
The dams did not create the entropic conditions. The Klamath basin is a naturally warm-water, high-phosphorus tule marsh. John Fremont’s journal cites the water in the upper basin as so foul that the horses would not drink it. The Keno reef, a natural geographic barrier, prevented the migration of salmon to the upper basin, not the dams.
The hatchery at Iron Gate was built to mitigate the loss of 30 or so miles of habitat. John fails to point out that the water is cleaner below the dams than it is above. The Klamath is called an upside-down river because it is naturally dirty in the basin and becomes cleaner as it heads toward the ocean. This is the exact opposite of the vast majority of rivers. The dams act as phosphorus sinks which help to clean the water.
Why does Mr. Spencer fail to note that the science foundation report says dam removal will do little or nothing for the coho salmon? Why does John fail to point out that there are 100 million cubic yards of naturally polluted, high-phosphorus, high-nitrogen sediment trapped behind the dams? Sediment which, if released by dam removal, will kill the fisheries for decades if not permanently?
Why does John fail to mention that ocean conditions drive “returning spawners,” and not dams? Why does John fail to mention that the Pacific decadal cycle drives the ocean conditions that send cold-water fish north to the Gulf of Alaska?
The commercial catch of salmon is 400 percent of what it was 10 years ago. These environmental communists will even go so far as to suggest that the 8 million perfectly good hatchery fish, sent down the Klamath to the ocean every year, are genetically inferior to so-called “wild fish.” I would love to see the genetic data demonstrating that the egg from a wild mother becomes something else when it is hatched artificially.
John, how is a dam at fault when 8 million fish leave a river and only a small percentage can or will come back after three or four years in the ocean? What a crock!
Why is the environmental left so bent on dam removal over the objections of the voters in the affected area? Follow the money! A couple of billion dollars in the pockets of special interest groups who claim they represent the Klamath basin.
We the people of Siskiyou County have voted and almost 80 percent of us want OUR dams to stay.
I have an idea, Mr. Spencer: why don’t you start a campaign to remove Shasta and Whiskytown dams and see how far you get? Better yet – why not pull out all the dams? According to dam removal experts like Mr. Spencer, that will magically give all of us more water (yes, folks, the dam removal people are saying that removing Klamath dams will give everyone more water), as well as magically heal the “environment.”
Yes, the environmental left, bent upon destroying agriculture and the human environment in rural California, has a crock full of stories about environmental justice and environmental water and equal rights for “Mother Earth” – what a crock!
Wake up, California; this state is broke and dam removal on the Klamath River will do none of the above. What it will do is to remove flood control from the Lower Klamath River and destroy some perfectly good, clean-energy-producing facilities that serve 75,000 customers in California.
The environmentalist lie is that dam removal has not been decided upon yet. Why did the PUC just approve a rate increase for PacificCorp in to help mitigate the cost of dam removal?
Can you afford to give in to this type of environmental blackmail?
I cannot and I will not!
– Mark Baird of Scott Valley is vice president of Scott Valley Protect Our Water and the new owner of KSYC Radio.
Rebuttal to Mark Baird: Klamath myths undermine issue
By Craig Tucker
Siskiyou Daily News
Posted Jun 13, 2011 @ 09:23 AM
Several self-appointed “experts” have written several articles recently arguing against the removal of Klamath dams. Obviously dam removal is a controversial issue, but the public deserves to be presented with the actual facts of the matter when considering the fate of the dams.
Most recently, Mark Baird wrote a column that appeared in the Siskiyou Daily as well as on several websites. Since this piece perpetuates many of the myths contrived by dam huggers, it serves as an excellent starting point for setting the record straight.
Myth No. 1: Baird’s piece states that the “dams did not create the entropic conditions. The Klamath basin is a naturally warm-water, high-phosphorus tule marsh.”
First off, I think the term Baird is grasping for is “eutrophic,” not “entropic.” Entropy has to do with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Eutrophic refers to the concentration of nutrients in the reservoirs. So much for scientific credibility!
Indeed the Klamath is a eutrophic system due in large part to the geology of the upper basin, but that does not mean that dams serve as a cleaning system. In fact, the dams and reservoirs degrade water quality by creating ideal conditions for massive blooms of toxic algae in the summer. When the algae die, the material settles to the bottom of the reservoirs, which are oxygen-deprived. This results in the breakdown of algae and the release of concentrated nutrients in the summer and fall, increasing total nitrogen and phosphorous in the river.
Myth No. 2: The Keno reef, a natural geographic barrier, prevented the migration of salmon to the upper basin, not the dams.
Not so. In fact there are photos of people holding salmon that they fished out of Link River near Klamath Falls! The writings of early naturalists in the area describe Chinook runs above Upper Klamath Lake in the Williamson, Sprague and Wood rivers. For a peer-reviewed analysis of the historic range of salmon in the Klamath Basin (and pictures) see: www.klamathriverrestoration.org/images/stories/pdfs/AFS_Kamath_Salmon_article.pdf.
Myth No. 3: There are 100 million cubic yards of naturally polluted, high-phosphorus, high-nitrogen sediment trapped behind the dams … which, if released by dam removal, will kill the fisheries for decades if not permanently.
According to sediment modeling by the Department of Interior, dam removal would release 5.4-8.6 million cubic yards of non-toxic sediment. All agree that in the months following dam removal, this release of sediment would have a negative impact on fish. However, in the long term, models show that the river can bear the sediment load out to sea and there would be no long-term negative effects.
Myth No. 4: Ocean conditions drive “returning spawners,” and not dams … the Pacific decadal cycle drives the ocean conditions that send cold-water fish north to the Gulf of Alaska …
It’s true that salmon success is driven in part by ocean conditions and in part by river conditions.
However, data suggests that the greatest factor affecting returns is escapement of juveniles out to the sea. In the Klamath, degraded habitat conditions, poor water quality caused by dams, and the fish-disease hot zone below Iron Gate dams conspire to kill up to 80 percent of our juvenile fish before they reach the ocean.
Myth No. 5: We can just rely on hatchery fish. When habitat is degraded and limited, just dumping in more fish won’t solve the problem. Baird quips that, “I would love to see the genetic data demonstrating that the egg from a wild mother becomes something else when it is hatched artificially.” OK, try this for starters: Genetic changes from artificial propagation of Pacific salmon affect the productivity and viability of supplemented populations, Reisenbichler et al. http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/56/4/459.short). About 30 seconds on Google will lead you to much more.
Myth No. 6: The voters can elect to keep the dams. Baird states that “We the people of Siskiyou County have voted and almost 80 percent of us want OUR dams to stay.”
Turns out, they’re not “OUR” dams – they’re PacifiCorp’s. They’re what most Americans call private property and it will be up to the owners of that private property to decide what to do about them. PacifiCorp has decided that it’s cheaper to remove them than relicense them. In other words, they made a business decision that is no business of Mr. Baird’s.
Myth No. 7: Dam removal will remove flood control from the Lower Klamath River. Actually the dam removal agreement is connected to the KBRA, which contains plans to increase water storage in the basin by enlarging Upper Klamath Lake. In fact, after these agreements are implemented, we will have over 86,000 acre feet MORE ACTIVE WATER STORAGE in the Klamath Basin than we do today, which will help meet the water needs of agriculture and fish as well as increase flood control.
There are more myths to debunk that these. For more information, explore www.klamathrestoration.org.
Craig Tucker is the Klamath Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe. He represented the Karuk Tribe in negotiations which led to the Klamath Restoration Agreements. He has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University Medical School.
Copyright 2011 Siskiyou Daily News. Some rights reserved
Water quality suffers as Congress dithers
Ani Kame'enui and Alexandra Borack
Monday, June 13, 2011
The Klamath River will soon flow with warm water and toxic green algae, as it does every summer. Klamath River dam operator PacifiCorp has continually violated water-quality standards on the river, while reaping profits from its antiquated hydropower dams that block over 300 miles of native salmon habitat. Every year noxious agricultural runoff collects behind these dams and results in algae blooms that can exceed World Health Organization safety standards by a factor of 3,000.
Meanwhile, fishing seasons have been closed as dwindling populations of salmon continue to suffer in the toxic water running downstream. So why won't state water quality regulators in Oregon and California do anything about it?
Ironically, the fine print in a deal sold as "the path to dam removal" is preventing the Klamath from running clear and free.
The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) was born when PacifiCorp — faced with the reality of its aging dams and slim hopes of receiving necessary Clean Water Act approvals permits — helped craft a deal to send the dams and their problems to Congress for resolution. In order for the KHSA to work, it needs congressional approval to change laws and move the process forward. Moreover, it's linked to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), a controversial partner deal with a $1 billion price tag. In a gridlocked Congress with some representatives hostile toward the deals and to dam removal in general, the prospects for passing the KBRA and KHSA are slim.
As signatories to the KHSA, Oregon and California have deferred their responsibility on water quality in the Klamath, waiting for someone else to fix the problem. They wait — and will continue to wait. The KHSA has put the future of clean water for the Klamath in limbo. Buried deep within the KHSA is a provision that allows PacifiCorp to withdraw from the deal should the states move forward with their independent process to protect and restore water quality. This provision forces the states' water-quality regulators to either turn a blind eye towards the Klamath, along with the fish, wildlife and human communities that depend on its clean water, or risk being labeled opponents of dam removal.
Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has silently avoided the issue (as a signatory to the KHSA, it is "encouraged" to back off on enforcing water quality), while California's State Water Resources Control Board had provided the settlement parties with the opportunity to prove the KHSA can deliver on its promises. Although some supporters have suggested that federal legislation will be introduced soon, the process has stalled under tight budgets, conservation opposition, and political objection. More directly, the KHSA continues to miss important deadlines, notably those set forth by California's Water Board.
Not only has the KHSA failed to deliver the promised congressional legislation, but the deal still requires California to promise an extra $250 million in funding. As California faces a record budget deficit, it is inconceivable to assume this money will come from the state's empty coffers, further affecting education and public safety, or from taxpayers themselves to clean up PacifiCorp's legacy. Dam removal is essential to restore the Klamath, as is clean water. Unfortunately, a "sure path for dam removal" does not exist under the KHSA, and with continued deferral from the states, prospects for improvement in the river's water quality are even dimmer. If the settlement parties are committed to a restored Klamath River, why are they waiting for Congress to do what the states can do now?
The Klamath River cannot wait to see if the politics improve, and clean water must not be caught in never-ending political delay. In the absence of any feasible alternative, we must return to the existing water-quality framework. The Clean Water Act certification process is the only opportunity currently available to fix water quality, restore salmon runs for commercial fishing, and return a healthy river to all who use it.
Ani Kame'enui is Washington, D.C., legislative coordinator for Oregon Wild. Alexandra Borack is conservation advocate for Friends of the River.
© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
Dean Brockbank: Klamath deals already producing results
Dean Brockbank is vice president and general counsel for PacifiCorp Energy.
Monday, June 27, 2011
The June 13 "Speak Your Piece" "Water quality suffers as Congress dithers" ignores the facts on the ground and in the water to make several alarming claims of governmental malfeasance and corporate indifference. Fortunately, the dire picture painted by the authors does not exist. In fact, to make their points, the authors simply ignored the many active steps PacifiCorp and other stakeholders are taking right now to implement elements of the landmark Klamath agreements, including actions to improve Klamath River water quality, aquatic habitat and the chances that the fishery will be more abundant.
For example, to date PacifiCorp has provided more than $1.5 million to a coho enhancement fund administered in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Game to support the survival and recovery of coho salmon in the Upper Klamath River basin. Under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), PacifiCorp will continue to contribute more than $500,000 annually until the three Klamath dams in California are decommissioned. Measures to enhance tributary cold water flows critical for salmon, keep key coho streams connected to larger tributaries and limit the impact of livestock on river habitat are among many activities directly supported by the fund.
In addition to this funding, PacifiCorp is making changes to operations and flow releases to improve conditions for salmon, supporting research on fish disease that will aid in the development of management strategies to combat this problem, and funding improvements to hatchery operations that will benefit coho salmon.
Many other activities to improve water quality in the Klamath watershed are well under way and will continue both before and after Congress acts to approve and implement the agreements. These current water-quality improvements include pilot projects and studies of measures to reduce nutrient levels in the river and improve water quality throughout the watershed, which have already begun. If the interior secretary issues an affirmative decision to proceed with dam removal, more than $6 million is committed to fully fund significant water-quality improvements.
In coordination with various state and federal agencies and the Karuk and Yurok tribes, parties to the KHSA are now actively monitoring water quality over approximately 250 miles of the Klamath River from the Link River dam in Klamath Falls to the Pacific Ocean. This unique monitoring effort is supported by $500,000 in annual funding from PacifiCorp and will continue each year until the dams are removed.
Significant progress is being made on other fronts as well. PacifiCorp has received approval in both California and Oregon to begin collecting surcharges to cover the company's share of dam removal costs in 2020 and has already transferred all of its internal engineering and other operational information to the appropriate federal agencies crafting a detailed plan to remove the dams.
Like everyone else, PacifiCorp is waiting for the interior secretary's decision on whether to proceed with dam removal and a full and fair debate in Congress, but a lot has been accomplished since the agreements were signed last year and that work will continue. It is important to remember that the improvements described above are being implemented now as a result of the KHSA and would not be required in the absence of the agreements. This is a testament to the efforts of the involved parties to craft solutions to these complex resource issues that avoid the alternative of continued litigation and the deferral of water quality and habitat improvements that are happening now.
© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
Dam removal will do more harm than good
John W. Menke
Monday, June 13, 2011
Removal of four Klamath River dams as proposed in the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement likely will result in undesirable and unintended consequences that collectively add up to negative cost-benefit outcomes using scientific, engineering, economic, and Native American cultural criteria. Surprisingly, the fishery faces the greatest risk of all, and the agencies responsible for promoting dam removal do not appear to care.
First and foremost, the dams provide flood protection (minimum 9-hour peak-flood delay) for small communities, residences, businesses, agency offices, bridges and other structures along the Klamath River downstream from Iron Gate Dam to the ocean. Additionally, the reservoirs provide local water supplies to helicopters used in fighting wildland fires. Reservoirs also provide sufficient water in the mainstem Klamath to support the fall run of chinook salmon. Property values adjacent to dam reservoirs have declined precipitously, and property tax reductions will reduce funds for Siskiyou County programs.
Second: In the case of the short-nosed sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake, the agencies used a flawed biological opinion based on one naive model analysis to cut off irrigation water to farmers, when the sucker was not limited by lake levels according to vast amounts of empirical data. It is premature to remove dams and hope that this action might help.
Third: The NOAA Fisheries component (ocean effects) of agency responsibility is never discussed. We all know ocean temperatures and recent record harvest of chinook salmon in Alaskan waters show ocean currents, temperature and food availability have a major effect on local fish populations.
Fourth: No dynamic simulation models have been developed to allow holistic evaluation of likely limiting factors to salmonid productivity. The 2008 National Research Council study "Hydrology, Ecology, and Fishes of the Klamath River Basin" stated that this process should precede any adaptive management program.
Fifth: The 20-year (1986-2006), $40,000,000 Klamath Act and the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Environmental Quality Incentives Program efforts resulted in no improvement in salmon and steelhead numbers.
Sixth: The greatest risk to the Klamath River fishery resulting from dam removal is the release of natural, high-phosphorus sediments, and possibly toxic materials. This problem has developed over many years since dam construction while the dams have actively trapped the majority of such sediments and toxins, reducing risk to salmonids. Allowing flushing down river of the apparent 21 million cubic yards of such sediments and toxics could destroy an otherwise fine fishery.
Seventh: Agency plans for replacing more and more farmland with more wetlands in the Upper Klamath Basin is a very bad idea. Agriculture is the only natural means for use of excess phosphorus since it is taken up by crops and exported with food.
Eighth: Shasta Nation Native Americans expect to challenge disturbance of their burial grounds, which will happen if dam removal occurs.
Lastly, explorers noted when first visiting the Upper Klamath Basin that water quality was so undesirable that even their riding horses and pack animals would not drink.
Dr. John W. Menke, an ecologist, lives in Scott Valley.
© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
Opinions (Patrick Higgins-McKinleyville, Calif)
Dear Two Rivers Tribune,
Thanks to the Two Rivers Tribune for coverage of the Klamath Basin Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) meeting held in Orleans in mid-June. The tense mood of the meeting was well captured but there were some important points made that I thought were overlooked.
The complaint I lodged with regard to Indian people being excluded from the KHSA/KBRA process was primarily on behalf of the Resighini Rancheria, who have retained me as a fisheries and watershed consultant to deal with the environmental review of this large and complex program. Although they are a federally recognized Tribe, they were excluded from discussions as was the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation. The Hoopa Valley Tribe were allowed to participate in Settlement talks but refused to sign the agreements because they force Tribes to give up water rights and legal redress to sue over water pollution for 50 years, if the deals are authorized and funded.
The KBRA within Section 15.3 clearly states what the Yurok, Karuk and Klamath Tribes of Oregon will give up under the deal: “All claims resulting from (1) water management decisions, including the failure to act, or (2) the failure to protect, or to prevent interference with, the Tribes’ water or water rights…… (including damages, losses, or injuries to hunting, fishing, gathering rights or other activities due to loss of water or water rights).” The Secretary of Interior will essentially terminate the rights of other Klamath River Tribes that are not “Parties” to the deal (KBRA 15.3.9).
DOI lawyer John Bezdek’s claim that all KHSA/KBRA processes are open is simply incorrect. All committees and processes are open only to those who have signed the agreements. Critical documents like the Drought Plan are crafted behind closed doors by Parties and then the non-Party Tribes and the public can comment, but there is no assurance that appropriate changes will be made. Thus, the KBRA sets up a class system on the Klamath River for decision making that would perpetuate social injustice for 50 years.
Program leader Dennis Lynch’s summary of the Expert Panel reports mis-stated their findings. The coho-steelhead Expert Panel concluded that the dangerous algae blooms that are causing waves of fish diseases on the Klamath River would not be prevented: “Thus, it would be premature to conclude that any problems caused by these blooms, including low dissolved oxygen, will be substantially reduced by KBRA.”
The Chinook Experts state that “the Panel has strong reservations that the KBRA will be implemented with sufficient effectiveness to achieve its stated goals” and “Without solving the water quality problems, a fully self-sustaining run of Chinook salmon to the upper basin is unlikely.” The best science clearly establishes that the Klamath River is dying of nutrient pollution and the KBRA actually blocks restoring enough marsh and shallow lake habitat to sufficiently regain ecosystem processes that would clean up the water.
The KBRA is terminally flawed, unlikely to be funded and should be abandoned. Both the Resighini Rancheria and Hoopa Valley Tribe want to see speedy dam removal but believe that the best way to achieve that end is to return to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) process. Fish ladders required under FERC relicensing by the National Marine Fisheries Service would cost $200 million and make the project uneconomic forcing dam owner PacifiCorp into decommissioning. In addition the State of California has found that the pollution generated by the Klamath dams cannot be solved and would not issue a Clean Water Act 401 certification, which also would force abandonment and decommissioning.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on environmental documents for the KHSA/KBRA in September. Become informed and weigh in before it is too late.
Patrick Higgins, McKinleyville, Calif.